During today’s media conference call to promote the newest season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, former UFC light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell covered topics ranging from his least favorite person, Tito Ortiz, to how competing on “”Dancing with the Stars” rekindled his motivation for fighting.
Although he revisited, in depth, all of the reasons he dislikes Tito Ortiz, Liddell took a moment to sort of give props to Ortiz for his UFC 106 performance against Forrest Griffin.
“It looked like he gassed in the second round but until then he looked pretty good,” said Liddell. “He had some good shots and landed some good elbows.”
Despite the praise, Liddell still doesn’t see their third matchup ending any differently than their previous two meetings (both fights saw Ortiz on the wrong end of Liddell’s patented haymakers).
“He’s never posed a threat to me,” said Liddell. “I don’t see what he could do to me.”
He added, “I am gonna hurt him.”
“The Iceman” has lost four of his last five fights (three in brutal fashion) and because of this, UFC boss Dana White loudly called for Liddell’s retirement. But at least for now, Liddell is back and training hard to prove that he still belongs among the elite at 205 lbs.
On his training, Liddell said, “I’ve been working more with [boxing coach] Howard Davis Jr., worked a little bit on the boxing stuff, tightening up some of my boxing techniques. Also, I’ve been working a lot more submission stuff. I took off from April to January from doing any striking, I was just wrestling and doing some submission stuff.”
When asked if his renewed focus on grappling would come into play during his fight with Ortiz, Liddell laughed and said, “Probably not. You’ll see me knock him out.”
Instead, he says that he’s adding the extra weapons to his arsenal in order to keep his opponent’s guessing.
“I’m gonna mix it up more, I got away from mixing it up because I like striking so much,” he said. “I am gonna continue to strike, don’t worry about that, but I’ll mix it up more and make people guess a little more. Make it a little harder for guys to get a read on me.”
“The Iceman” says that, oddly enough, he found his renewed desire to compete while participating on “Dancing with the Stars”. Apparently, the time he took off from training to devote to the show was time missed for Liddell, and it helped him to rediscover that his competitive fire still burns.
During practice sessions for the show Liddell and his partner would tape themselves to study what they were doing wrong and how they could improve. Liddell has now employed this method during his practice sessions for Mixed Martial Arts competition and says that it has paid dividends in correcting some of his technical flaws.
It appears as though we will be seeing a renewed and rededicated Liddell when he returns to competition against Ortiz, but don’t think he plans to stop at “The Huntingtion Beach Bad Boy”.
“I want to make another run at the title,” said Liddell. “I’m gonna beat Tito and then hopefully beat another couple of guys and hopefully a title shot after that. One more shot at going out on top.”
It also appears as though those knockout losses he suffered haven’t diminished his confidence, as Liddell informed media, “I still think I can take anyone in the world at my weight.”
Liddell went on to say that Dana White is taking his return “on a fight-by-fight basis” and that he himself doesn’t have any particular opponents in mind after he takes on Ortiz. He also addressed the rumors that Ortiz has had to pull out of their fight and is to be replaced by Rich Franklin. Liddell claims that, as far as he knows, he is still fighting Ortiz at UFC 115 (although the recent rumor that UFC 115 is moving from Vancouver to Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati could indicate otherwise).